« PreviousContinue »
Which he in this adventure hath surpriz’d,
K. Hen. But I have sent for him to answer this; And, for this cause, awhile we must neglect Our holy purpose.to Jerusalem. Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we Will hold at Windsor, so inform the lords: But come yourself with speed to us again; For more is to be said, and to be done, Than out of anger can be uttered. * West. I will, my liege.
2 Malevolent 10 you in all aspézts;] An astrological allusion. Worcester is represented as a malignant ftar that influenced the conduct of Hotspur. Henley.
3 Which makes him prune himself,] The metaphor is taken from a cock, who in his pride prunes himself; that is, picks off the loose feathers to smooth the rest. To prune and 10 plume, spoken of a bird, is the same. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is certainly right in his choice of the reading. So, in The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594:
“ Sith now thou doft but prune thy wings,
" And make thy feathers gay." Again, in Green's Metamorphosis, 1613:
“ Pride makes the fowl to prune his feathers so.” But I am not certain that the verb to prune is justly interpreted. In The Booke of Haukynge, &c. (commonly called The Booke of St. Albans) is the following account of it: “ The hauke proineth when the fetcheth oyle with her beake over the taile, and anointech her feet and her fethers. She plumeth when the pulleth fethers of anie foule and casteth them from her.” Steevens.
4 Than out of anger can be uttered.] That is, “ More is to be said than anger will suffer me to say: more than can issue from a mind disturbed like mine," JOHNSON.
SCENE II. The same. Another Room in the Palace. Enter Henry, Prince of Wales, and Falstaff. Fal. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
P. Hen. Thou art fo fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would'ft truly know.s What a devil haft thou to do with the time of the day ? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flamecolour'd taffata; I see no reason, why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me, now Hal: for we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars; and not by Phæbus,-hé, that wandering knight so fair. And, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art
s to demand that truly which thou would'A truly know.] The Prince's objection to the question seems to be, that Falstaff had alked in the night what was the time of the day. Johnson.
This cannot be well received as the objection of the Prince; for presently after, the Prince himself says: " Good morrow, Ned," and Poins replies: “ Good morrow, sweet lad." The truth may be, that when Sbakspeare makes the Prince wish Poins a good morrow, he had forgot that the scene commenced at night.
STEEVENS, 6 Phæbus,--he, that wandering knight so fair.] Falstaff starts the idea of Phæbus, i. e. the fun; but deviates into an allusion to El Donzel del Febo, the knight of the fun in a Spanish romance translated (under the title of The Mirror of Knighthood, &c.) during the age of Shakspeare. This illustrious personage was “ most excellently faire," and a great wanderer, as those who travel after him throughout three thick volumes in 4to. will discover. Perhaps the words “ that wandering knight so fair," are part of some for.
king,—as, God save thy grace, (majesty, I should say; for grace thou wilt have none,) –
P. Hen. What! none?
Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P.Hen. Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be call'd thieves of the day's beauty ; 7 let us be-Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade,
gotten ballad on the subject of this marvellous hero's adventures. In Peele's Old Wives Tale, Com. 1595, Eumenides, the wandering knight, is a character. Steevens.
i let not us, that are Squires of the night's body, be call'd thieves of the day's beauty;] This conveys no manner of idea to me. How could they be called thieves of the day's beauty? They robbed by moonshine; they could not steal the fair day-light. I have ventured to substitute booty: and this I take to be the meaning. Let us not be called thieves, the purloiners of that booty, which, to the proprietors, was the purchase of honest labour and industry by day. TheoBALD.
It is true, as Mr. Theobald has observed, that they could not steal the fair day-light; but I believe our poet by the expression, thieves of the day's beauty, meant only, let not us who are body Squires 10 ihe night, i. e. adorn the night, be called a disgrace to the day. To take away the beauty of the day, may probably mean, to difgrace it. A squire of the body signified originally, the attendant on a knight; the person who bore his head-piece, spear, and shield. It became afterwards the cant term for a pimp; and is so used in the second part of Decker's Honeft Whore, 1630. Again, in The Witty Fair One, 1633, for a procurefs : “ Here comes the squire of her mistress's body.
Falstaff however puns on the word knight. See the Curialia of Samuel Pegge, Esq. Part I. p. 100. SteeVENS.
There is also, I have no doubt, a pun on the word beauty, which in the western counties is pronounced nearly in the same manner as booty. See K. Henry VI. Part III:
“ So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty." MALONE. 8 Diana's forefters, &c.]
“ Exile and Nander are justly mee awarded,
minions of the moon: And let men say, we be men of good government; being govern'd as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we-steal.
P. Hen. Thou say'st well; and it holds well too: for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea; being govern'd as the sea is, by the moon. As, for proof, now: A purse of gold most resolutely snatch'd on Monday night, and most diffolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing-lay by ;' and spent with crying_bring in :? now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?'
So lamenteth Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, in The Mirror for Magistrates. HeNDERSON.
We learn from Hall, that certain persons who appeared as foresters in a pageant exhibited in the reign of King Henry VIII. were called Diana's knights. Malone.
9 — got with swearing-lay by;] i. e. swearing at the palsengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrase that then signified stand fill, addressed to those who were preparing to rush forward. But the Oxford editor kindly accommodates these old thieves with a new cant phrase, taken from Bagshot-heath or Finchley-common, of lug out. WARBURTON.
To lay by, is a phrase adopted from navigation, and signifies, by Nackening fail to become stationary. It occurs again in King Henry Vill:
« Even the billows of the sea
“ Hung their heads, and then lay by." STEVENS. ? - and spent with crying, bring in:] i. e. more wine.
MALONE. 3 - And is not my hostess of the tavern &c.] We meet with the same kind of humour as is contained in this and the three following speeches, in The Mostellaria of Plautus, A&t I. sc. ii:
" Jampridem ecaftor frigidâ non lavi magis lubenter,
“ Nec unde me melius, mea Scapha, rear esse defæcatam, VOL. VIII,
P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?
Sca." Eventus rebus omnibus, velut horno mellis magna fuit.
In the want of connection to what went before, probably consists the humour of the Prince's question. Steevens.
This kind of humour is often met with in old plays. In The Gallathea of Lyly, Phillida says: “ It is a pittie that nature framed you not a woman.
" Gall. There is a tree in Tylos, &c.
“ Phill. What a toy it is to tell me of that tree, being nothing to the purpose,” &c.
Ben Jonson calls it a game at vapours. FARMER.
4 As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle.] Mr. Rowe took notice of a tradition, that this part of Falstaff was written originally under the name of Oldcastle. An ingenious correspondent hints to me, that the passage above quoted from our author, proves what Mr. Rowe tells us was a tradition. Old lad of the castle seems to have a reference to Oldcastle. Besides, if this had not been the fact, why, in the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV. where our author promises to continue his story with Sir John in it, should he say, “ Where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already he be killed with your hard opinions: for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man." This looks like declining a point that had been made an objection to him. I'll give a farther matter in proof, which seems almost to fix the charge. I have read an old play, called, The famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, containing the honourable battle of Agina court.-The action of this piece commences about the 14th year of K. Henry the Fourth's reign, and ends with Henry the Fifth's marrying Princess Catharine of France. The scene opens with Prince Henry's robberies. Sir John Oldcaftle is one of the gang, and called Jockie; and Ned and Gadshill are two other comrades.-From this old imperfect sketch, I have a suspicion, Shak. speare might form his two parts of Henry IV. and his history of Henry V.; and consequently it is not improbable, that he might continue the mention of Sir John Oldcastle, till some descendant of that family moved Queen Elizabeth to command him to change che name. THEOBALD.
my old lad of the castle.] This alludes to the name Shakspeare first gave to this buffoon character, which was Sir John Oldcastle; and when he changed the name he forgot to strike out